active learning

GIFTS: Teaching Media Technology and Convergence through Podcasting

Media Technology Podcast Project

In an attempt to increase student engagement in learning about media technology and media convergence this project toolkit has been developed.  The intention of this toolkit is to provide educators with the scaffolding of an existing podcast project that can be used as is, or modified and adapted to fit the various individual course / learning needs. 

Project Overview

The concept of the Media Technology Podcast Project is to provide an active learning project in which students explore the convergence of media technology through a hands-on exercise to develop a tightly edited informational audio program in the form of a podcast (which is an example of converged media itself).  This activity is suited to be incorporated into a theoretically focused course as an alternative to a traditional paper or presentation assessment, and can also be used in a competency based course that specifically aims to teach students production skills in media communication technology.

Description of Project

Students are given a choice to select media technology for their podcast project to which they will have to research, develop a script, and produce their recorded Podcast in mp3 format. The recorded Podcast is not to exceed five (5:00) minutes in length. At the conclusion of the project all student podcasts will be collected electronically by the instructor and reviewed.  The completed podcasts that students opt to allow to be shared publicly, can then be published to an online SoundCloud podcast feed or similar publication outlet.  The publication of the podcasts is of course optional, based on the rules, regulations, and privacy considerations of the institution or organization from which this project is run.  An alternative to public publication would be to post the completed podcast to the learning management system (LMS).

Intended Courses

This project activity can be adopted to a range of courses that cover media and or technology.  Some examples of courses well suited to this project are:

  • Mass Communications (intro level)
  • Media Literacy
  • Media Studies
  • Media Production (intro level)
  • Emerging Technology

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate critical research analyses on media technologies and media convergence.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the potential for media convergence to impact the traditional media through discussion and research findings.
  • Demonstrate the technical competencies required to produce high quality audio programs from a a variety of recording sources (field and studio) and mixing of vocal tracks with music and additional sound loops.
  • Strengthen students' critical thinking through analysis, creation, and evaluation of research on their chosen topic.
  • Provide experience developing original and creative content, and if applicable publishing through new media channels for podcast delivery.

Technology Requirements

The minimum technology requirements for this assignment are access to a computer with audio recording software, and a microphone.  The aim of this project is not to teach a specific platform for podcast creation, but to focus on developing the content and producing the best sounding audio quality given the available equipment. 

For some courses, students may already have experience with audio recording and or production, for others this may be the first such assignment.  Instructors should adapt the assignment to complement the existing proficiency level of their students and or other course requirements. Suggested software platforms are Apple GarageBand (MacOS and iOS) and Audacity (MacOS and Windows).

Evaluation of Project

Students are supplied with a detailed rubric for this activity that clearly outlines and defines the levels for assessment across five criteria: planning, introduction, content, delivery, and technical production.  Each criterion is segmented into four levels of achievement in which a detailed summary of each level is provided. The rubric is intended to serve as self-learning assessment tool for students as well, so at any time during their project they can use the rubric to self evaluate their level of completion on the project.

Student reflection
Upon the completion of the project it is suggested that the instructor send an anonymous survey to the participants to gather responses on the students’ perceptions of the assignment in regard to how well they learned through the use of this project compared to a traditional paper or presentation. The survey may also gather information on the perceived self-efficacy of podcasting as a medium to develop and share content. If this project is used to replace a previous activity, a comparison of the results of this activity will help the instructor analyze if there are measurable performance differences or perceptions of learning. 

Media Technology Project Guidelines

Using the common definition of media convergence as the integration of mass media, computers, and telecommunications.  Chose a media technology to focus your research on that represents media convergence, but be careful not to choose something too broad like the Internet.  Possible choices might include: hardware examples (tablets and smartphones, virtual reality /augmented reality sets, e-book readers, etc.) or software platforms such as (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Blogs, Tumblr, Apple Music, Spotify, GarageBand, etc.). 

Research your chosen technology and develop a script for your podcast that addressed the following questions:

  • Succinctly describe the media technology you chose and how it works, who the intended users are, and provide a brief overview of the people (or organization) responsible for creating the technology.

  • Discuss the historical aspects of the technology (when was it created, how it evolved, and or spread in usage) Did this new media technology replace an existing analog version, or is it a completely new?

  • Describe how the technology will change (or has changed) traditional processes or practices. Did the technology you chose disrupt any existing media or industry, if so discuss how?

  • Discuss how the technology relates to the concept that we are in a “digital revolution” and that new and emerging digital media will replace “old media” model of print and physical media distribution.

  • Discuss your views on the future directions of the technology, do you believe it will continue to grow, or decline, or become obsolete? Provide rationale for your position.


You are to create an audio podcast based on your chosen media technology topic and address the prompts listed above.  Your finished podcast is not to exceed five (5:00) minutes in length and must be in Mp3 format.  In addition to containing the content derived from your research on the provided prompts, your podcast will also need to include the following elements:

  • Catchy opening introduction where you succinctly introduce yourself, any guests, and the topic you are covering.
  • Creative and original content, that is well rehearsed and provides a smooth delivery in conversational style with highly effective expression and rhythm to keep the listener engaged.
  • Transitions are smooth and spaced appropriately, volume of voice is strong and clear and mixed well with any music or sound loops.


These resources were created to provide examples of assessment rubrics and a general podcasting guide that covers some basic instruction on podcast formats, and recording tips for those less familiar with audio recording.

Media Technology Podcast Project Rubric (PDF)

Media Technology Podcast Recording Basics (PDF)


In this section you can access a few examples of student work that has been shared publicly.  These podcasts were created for a special topics course on podcasting and emerging technology. Some of the examples were focused on a broader range of media and culture, but the same constraints where placed on the podcast produciton.